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Destructive tornado in the USA: how dire are the consequences?

Last week, on December 11, there was aone of the most powerful tornadoes in history. We are not talking about one hurricane, but about several at once - meteorologists believe that there were more than thirty of them. The US state of Kentucky was hit hardest, but the disaster affected the states of Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois and Tennessee. As a result of the tornado, many buildings were destroyed, practically nothing remained of them. Hundreds of people are considered dead and just as many are missing - there is still no exact data, but it was reported that 74 people died in Kentucky aged from 2 months to 98 years. Unfortunately, nature never ceases to amaze us with its cruel surprises. I propose to figure out what causes tornadoes and what damage was caused to the United States.

US tornado hit hard in late 2021


  • 1 What is a tornado?
  • 2 How do tornadoes arise?
  • 3 Features of a tornado
  • 4 Destructive tornado in the USA

What is a tornado?

A tornado is the same as a tornado andmeso-hurricane. This is the name of the atmospheric vortex that forms in a thundercloud and gradually descends. The exact cause of the formation of tornadoes is still unknown, because it is very difficult to study such a deadly element. But there is an approximate description of the reasons for the appearance of a tornado.

The color of a tornado depends on many factors: for example, if the sun is in the back, the tornado appears darkest and most ominous

How do tornadoes originate?

It is believed that tornadoes form whencollision of cold and warm air. From the school curriculum, many of us know that the density of warm air is less than the density of cold air. In this regard, warm air flows rise upwards, and cold air flows downwards. As a result of these phenomena, the air begins to move in a circle, but scientists do not fully know why exactly. It should be admitted that this is a very brief description of the ongoing processes - this topic is discussed in a little more detail in the video below.

Sometimes the diameter of a tornado is huge

Due to their high power, tornadoes cause serious problems:

  • the air moving in a circle lifts buildings, cars and even people to great heights and throws them aside;
  • captured objects often fall on other buildings and people, which is also a great danger;
  • some houses literally explode from the inside due to pressure drops;
  • the wind breaks power lines and leaves people without light and heat;
  • destruction becomes the cause of fires.

After strong tornadoes, cars turn into piles of metal

See also: What causes lightning and how does it appear?

Destructive tornado in the USA

Recently residents of some American statesfelt almost all the horrors mentioned above. According to Gismeteo, about 1,500 tornadoes occur annually in the United States, but they are usually recorded between March and June. But in December, only 1–2% of tornadoes fall, and usually these are weak eddies. But in 2021, something unimaginable happened: not only were the researchers able to count about 30 tornadoes (in some sources even more), but they also caused terrible destruction and hundreds of deaths.

Red dots mark places where tornadoes were recorded

American tornado hit hardeststate of Kentucky - the number of victims is in the tens. There were especially many dead at the Mayfield candle factory - at the moment when the wind brought down the roof, there were about 100 people inside. The danger came not only from the roof itself, because the building contained heavy vehicles and even corrosive chemicals that were dumped on people. It is even more terrifying to realize that at first there were few people who could help people: the police station collapsed and the firefighters' equipment was broken. Tens of thousands of surviving residents were left without electricity and water, so the state will be busy rebuilding soon.

Kentucky after the tornado

Many houses had roofs torn off, causing many deaths.

Many other American states were also affected.For example, in Illinois, about 14 people died - some of them were workers at an Amazon warehouse, whose roof collapsed. In the state of Arkansas, two people became victims of the tornado, and in Tennessee, there are three victims. The governor of Kentucky shared that at the moment, in many places, pillars have been broken, huge trucks have been knocked down and houses, inside which there were clearly people, have been destroyed. So there could be even more victims.

The path followed by a tornado in Kentucky

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Recently World Meteorological Organization(WMO) announced that despite the frequent occurrence of natural disasters, the number of casualties is decreasing. You can find out more about the reasons for this pattern in the material of my colleague Andrey Zhukov. Here is the link.